Elliot, who decides that a work is awful or not? The reader, right? But "the reader" is not one taste only. If so, we would not have so many genres - and not so many MarySue genres (thinking of a few well sold authors, who really make money with cliches).
This is very true, Kiya <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> But genre aside, I think there are a number of things that make any story 'awful' by MOST reader's definitions - such as very poor characterisation and plot holes you can drive a fleet of lorries through.
I agree with Lowkey here - it is better to write something awful than nothing at all, why? You can improve then. Ok, I would not put something on the web in the public area if I consider it awful, but test this with persons I know. Or - look for a site that has cliched plots/chars as well, so my cliche would fit in this.
I tend to delete the story and start again if it starts heading down the toilet. I have done this a few times, and probably will have to do it more times in the future.
I am never satisfied with anything I am writing that I think is a poor story, simply because I expect better of myself. If I set no standards for myself, I would have no impetus to improve <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Hm, there are authors who use their own state and express this in a story. If I may use a bestseller example here: Seybold (Lovely bones). The way she wrote it, it became very clear to me that she had a trauma - still a fascinating book. No, not "still", because she had a trauma, a fascinating book, very strong emotional impact on this reader at least - and on others reading/buying it. My suspicion became a fact after I read her 3rd book (psychological one) and she revealed what had happened to her in RL => rape and being stalked upon. In her 1st novel she wrote about a murdered child that was raped before and watched her family and the murderer out of her own "heaven". She wrote herself, her char was like a glove.
It can be done incredibly well, but the authors that do this are basically using their novels as a kind of catharsis. They are not truly writing fiction, nor are they writing about characters. These are at least semi-autobiographical.
That being said, this is indeed a grey area where what I said earlier does not apply. Obviously any writer who is basically writing themselves and not a fictional character at all must pay complete attention to their own emotions/eotional state.
I agree fully, a predictable plot lets me put a book aside very quickly.
I can stand a predictable plot if the characterisation is fantastic; or a superb plot with not so good characters, but two things will inevitably lose me as a reader - characters I cease to care about, and a story that goes nowhere.